- One of 162 examples built in 1953
- American heart, British bones, and Italian skin
- Accompanied by Nash literature and side curtains
- Carburetor and brake master-cylinder rebuilt April 2021
During a chance meeting while crossing the Atlantic on the Queen Elizabeth, British designer Donald Healey and Nash-Kelvinator chief George Mason discussed the prospect of collaborating on a sports car. The duo came to an agreement, and batches of Nash Ambassador six-cylinder engines and three-speed gearboxes with overdrive were shipped to Warwickshire, England. There, they were mated with Healey Silverstone chassis and a Panelcraft body of Healey design. Production began for the 1951 model year in December 1950. Racing versions finished nineth in class in the Mille Miglia and fourth overall at Le Mans, but the steep $4,063 price for Nash’s halo car kept sales to just 104 units that first year.
Mason never cared for the original “slab” styling of the car, and as he had already contracted Italy’s Battista “Pinin” Farina to style the senior Nashes for 1952, he asked Farina to update the Nash-Healey as well. Steel bodywork replaced aluminum, and the price jumped to $5,858, with a total of just 150 produced. A companion Le Mans Coupe on a six-inch-longer wheelbase was introduced for 1953, yet production remained low, with 162 units built for the model year. Thanks to its high price and the emergence of the Jaguar XK 120, production ended in 1954, after a total of 506 units had been built.
The example on offer, chassis 2378, entered Gene Ponder’s care in April 2019 after being purchased from a prominent private collection in Guatemala. Beginning in May that same year, the Nash-Healey was sent off to receive cosmetic repairs. Imperfections in the paint were corrected where necessary, and the incorrect wing mirrors were removed. In addition, the steering box was serviced at this time. In April 2021, the Carter carburetors and brake master cylinder were rebuilt, as indicated by invoices on file.
Befitting its Italian coachwork, The Nash-Healey presents a traditional red exterior over tan leather, a color scheme befitting its Italian coachwork and which complements the attractive roadster’s swooping lines. While spartan, the interior provides the driver with full instrumentation and a pushbutton radio. Today, the car appears in tidy condition thanks to the recent work and is accompanied by Nash literature and side curtains.
With the combined forces of the United States, Great Britain, and Italy, a truly unique automobile became emerged for the sports-car hungry postwar public. Rare, stylish, and entertaining to drive, the lovely Nash-Healey roadster is a timeless and rewarding classic, ideal for any automobile enthusiast.